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June 26, 2013

Shane Battier

STEVE GRIFFITH:テつ Hey, everyone.テつ Thanks for joining.テつ Shane is on the line with us right now.テつ Shane next, as we said in the alert, turns his focus on the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe next month.
Two years ago Shane called us from vacation in Mexico, last year he called us from the visiting team hotel in Indianapolis on the day before a game during that series, and this year he calls us from New York where he's working on ESPN's draft coverage and will be on air tomorrow night, so you'll be able to see him there.
So I'm going to start it off with a question, but Shane, can you start us off by comparing last year's run to this year's run?テつ Everyone knows you guys won the championship again, and it seems like it's so grueling.テつ How does it feel?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Thanks, Steve.テつ The two championships, obviously, were unique and very important for my career.
Year two, the back‑to‑back championships are different because you have the understanding of expectations, and you understand what it takes to get back to the mountaintop.テつ When you think about it, the first championship you win, you're just grinding.テつ You're keeping your head down, you're full steam ahead, and you wind up at the top of the mountain.テつ But after that, you understand the sacrifice and the pain and the heartache that goes into winning a championship.テつ So in many regards, it's tougher, and in many regards, it's fulfilling in a different way.

Q.テつ Tahoe is coming up, and that is the next time people will "be able to see you play", and we put in the media alert that you'll be hoping for a few more threes.テつ So tell us what you're doing out there with the Take Charge Foundation.
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Well, I'm really excited to be back at the American Century Championship, which is the premier event, if you're an athlete or former athlete, golf event.テつ The folks at American Century do an amazing job of putting this event on, and I'm excited to be back and representing the Battier Take Charge Foundation.
We launched the initiative we started last year called Take Charge, Save Par.テつ And if you go to our website at takechargefoundation.org, you can you read all about it.テつ But essentially we are soliciting donations for every par that I achieve during the three‑day tournament.
Last year I got 18 pars, which was by far my best round at Tahoe.テつ Most of my friends are mad at me because it ended up costing them a few more dollars.テつ But all of those profits and all of those proceeds went to funding college scholarships for at‑risk, deserving youth in Miami, Houston, and Detroit areas.テつ So it was a great cause.
Very excited to be back in Tahoe to build upon 18 pars from last year and have a great time and help send some great kids to school at the same time.

Q.テつ I'm just wondering, after going 6 for 8 from the floor in Game 7, and I think you had 18 points, how gratifying was that after being benched in Game 7 of the Conference Finals against the Pacers?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I was very proud of myself, to be honest with you.テつ I'm not proud too often, but it was a difficult time to sit and watch and essentially be told that our best chance of winning does not involve you (laughing).テつ So as a competitor, that's a tough pill to swallow, but I was there to support my teammates and stay ready.テつ Stay ready and stay in the moment.テつ When given the opportunity, I made the most of it, and that's what I'm proud of.

Q.テつ I'm also wondering, Shane, what's it like to be playing with the greatest player on the planet?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ You know what?テつ It never gets old.テつ It never gets old playing with Lebron.テつ You would think you see the same thing every single night, the highlights, and just the plays that Lebron makes that you'd get tired of it, but it never gets tiring.
More importantly, Lebron is one of the best teammates I've had, and that is what makes him special.テつ All of the guys that play with him appreciate him.テつ He appreciates us, and it's been a fantastic ride that we've all been on.

Q.テつ Finally, I'm just wondering, are you guys thinking now about three‑peat, or are you just trying to digest what happened?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ We're just trying to figure out what the heck happened in Game 6, which was a game for the ages.テつ Obviously, we were facing the odds of losing that game in the last 30 seconds.テつ And then to come out on top of that game and win a very emotional tough Game 7, we were just putting it all together.テつ Then the victory celebrations and the parades.テつ Today is the first day I've been able to catch my breath and reflect a little bit about what just happened.

Q.テつ Have you ever been in that kind of zone on the golf course where you're just draining them with impunity?テつ Second question, how big was the steak that Lebron bought you the night after winning Game 7?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ You know what, I think I played my best two days of golf last year at Tahoe.テつ And the funny thing about the zone is you don't want to question it.テつ You don't want to try to analyze where it comes from. テつYou just exist in the moment.テつ The hoop looks huge, you want the ball in your hand, and you just want to shoot every single shot.
Last year at Tahoe, when I had 18 pars or birdies, I've never played that well.テつ I'm like an 18 handicap golfer, so I played out of my mind last year.テつ Like on the basketball court in Game 7, didn't question it, I just enjoyed it and tried to ride it out as long as I could.
As far as the rib eye goes, there was nothing sweeter.テつ There was nothing sweeter.テつ I alluded to being benched as the equivalent of being a basketball turd sandwich, which it was.テつ As a competitor, it was tough to digest.テつ But the rib eye after tasting that turd sandwich was the greatest food you've ever eaten in your life.テつ That's what Game 7 was for me. テつSo it was a metaphorical and actually literal rib eye the next night, which was fantastic.

Q.テつ Did you notice the day after on social media a lot of the pictures were of players on your team and other teams out at nightclubs.テつ And your picture is of you and your family at Denny's.テつ Do you get a chuckle out of that?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I do.テつ I do.テつ It's funny that it became a really big deal.テつ It was actually the second meal at Denny's after winning the championship.
I did the same thing last time.テつ I didn't go to the same club.テつ I went to my local bar where I could just talk to my family and friends and have a few adult beverages and celebrate the night.テつ But the sun came up by the time we left the bar, and what better place to celebrate a championship when the sun is coming up in Miami than Denny's?テつ Little moons over my hammy in Miami.テつ So it was a fitting end to a great night.

Q.テつ Very good.テつ And this next question is probably a little more serious.テつ But in light of what happened to Aaron Hernandez here on the Patriots, what advice do you give to young players coming in?テつ Because you're such a normal family man, what advice do you give to young players that to try to stay out of trouble?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I don't know what to tell them when they're in that situation.テつ But I tell all young athletes, you know, try to keep perspective.テつ It's easy in this professional world to think that sometimes you're bigger than the rules or you're larger than life.テつ I've seen it in a lot of instances where a guy was touched with the reality.
I always tell guys, basketball and pro sports, it's what you do, it's not who you are.テつ Don't ever let it become who you are.テつ Let it be a big part of your life support, but the family and friends and people around you, your closer circle are what matter at the end of the day.

Q.テつ How bad do you want to beat Charles Barkley?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Well, every year‑‑ I haven't beaten many people at the American Century Championship, but I have beaten Charles every year.テつ So the day that Charles beats me is the day that I retire the American Century Championship and I will not let that happen.
So Charles, you know, I'm close to you on the leaderboard, but you ever never beat me.

Q.テつ How many of the 1,100 cans of beer have been consumed over the last few days, and also if you could talk about what led to this ESPN thing tomorrow night?テつ Did you call them?テつ Had they reached out to you?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Well, first of all, there has been a serious dent into my arsenal of Bud Light.テつ Bud Light delivered a truckload of the good stuff to my house before the playoffs started.テつ I was saving up for a special occasion.テつ There are a few more empty bottles outside of my house to take to my friends and family of Bud Light.
I'm really excited to be in New York at the NBA Draft.テつ Twelve years ago I came into this league as the wide‑eyed, bushy‑tailed rookie.テつ Being back here makes me relive that night.テつ It was a stressful night for me.テつ I had the uncertainty, but a great night, no less, and the realization of a dream.テつ I was contacted by ESPN and the NBA thought it would be great for the sideline reporting job.テつ So I'll be interviewing the draftees as soon as their name is called, which means a lot to me, because this is the most important night of these young guys' life to this point and the culmination of all their hard work.テつ The biggest day for their families, their colleges, and their coaches.テつ I want to be there to capture that passion and that enthusiasm and that happiness.テつ It's nice for optimism, and positivity, and I'm looking forward to be part of it.

Q.テつ A couple quick basketball things.テつ Have you talked to Ray at all to get any idea whether he wants to come back?テつ He obviously has the opt‑out this weekend.テつ And then Pat said today he hasn't thought about amnesty at all with Mike Miller.テつ Mike's a great player.テつ He wants him here unless he's told otherwise or given a mandate.テつ And even Mike talked about that.テつ So Ray and Mike?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I'd be very surprised if our roster was different from next year.テつ I'd be very surprised.

Q.テつ Have you had a chance to talk to him?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I haven't had a chance to talk to him one‑on‑one.テつ I'm going to play a round of golf with him.テつ He's playing at the American Century Championship as well.テつ So if I have to, I'll put the full press on him.テつ But the allure of winning that third ring I know will be strong with him.

Q.テつ With Mike, as close as you are, has amnesty at all weighed on him from being around in the last few months or has it never come up?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Well, it's part of our job and the financial reality we're facing.テつ But Mike was so great for us in the playoffs and such a great player for this team over the last few years, I'd be surprised if he wasn't with us come October.

Q.テつ Shane, so the playoffs ended slightly later this year, and have you been out on the golf course since it ended or did you head straight to New York?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Yes, I played my first round of golf two days after the championship, and I drove the ball really well.テつ So I don't know if we're doing the Korbel Long Drive contest, but I'll be entering that if that is a possibility.テつ I feel good about that.テつ My short game and my putting are absolutely in the gutter, and that is my focus for the next three weeks.
After the draft, I'll be hitting the golf course and grooming my swing and working on my short game and my putting.

Q.テつ Do you remember what it was like on Friday of the American Century Championship last year when you were about to play your best, and whether or not you think you can recapture that?テつ Do you have enough time?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I feel confident.テつ I feel strangely confident.テつ I remember last year I said I don't really care how I play, I'm a champion.テつ And I want to echo those same thoughts.テつ I'm a two‑time champion now, so when I walk into the players' room at the American Century Championship and see Jerry Rice and Mario Lemieux, and Jerome Bettis, and all these great champions, I won two championships.テつ So to get a handshake from those guys, to be honest with you, I don't really mind if I play poorly.テつ I want to play well for Take Charge, Save Par and raise money for the kids, but my life is pretty darn good right now.

Q.テつ I was curious, what are your thoughts on the Heat returning Mario?テつ Were you surprised at all with that move?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I'm not surprised.テつ We've won back‑to‑back championships now, so if it ain't broke, don't have to tinker with it too much.
Mario is great for us.テつ In the biggest games he played huge for us.テつ He still has a lot of upside and room to grow, so I'm not surprised at all that they picked up his option.

Q.テつ I know you have a limited time to prepare for this upcoming tournament.テつ Have you been working with an instructor at all or making any changes from last year's preparation?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I've hit balls a few times with Ray Allen.テつ Ray, obviously, Ray is a scratch golfer, and one of these days he's going to contend on the leaderboard for the American Century Championship.テつ So I hit balls with him a few times during the year.テつ But most of my preparations at this point have been mental.テつ Visualizing my swing, visualizing my putts, and it's going to pay off.テつ It's going to pay off this year.

Q.テつ Are there any similarities to preparing for this golf tournament as, say, an NBA game?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ You know, I think there are similarities between golf and basketball, especially shooting.テつ You can't think about your jumpshot, you can't think to yourself, okay, my elbow has to be tucked.テつ I have to have balance on both feet, I have to be looking at the rim.テつ You just shoot the ball.テつ You try to replicate your training and your practice, but it's a golf swing.テつ You can't think as you're standing over the ball, okay, tuck in my arm, rotate the club, maintain my power base.テつ You know, you grip the club and you trust what you've practiced your entire life.テつ So it is very, very similar between golf and basketball.

Q.テつ How do you see Michael Jordan being out affecting the playing field, if at all?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Well, I'm sure the galleries will be disappointed.テつ That's good for me, that means I have a chance to move up one spot in the standings.テつ So that's good for me, good for me.テつ You know, he's been such a figure at the American Century Championship, he'll be missed.

Q.テつ Obviously Edgewood is an awesome golf course and everybody loves it.テつ For you guys it's kind of like your Augusta.テつ What other courses around this big old country do you like playing?テつ What courses fit your eye when you're on the road or off‑season?テつ Are there certain tracks that you like to try to get on?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ Well, I'm from Michigan, so my personal favorite and a lot of history with U.S. Opens and Ryder Cups is Oakland Hills.テつ It's Donald Ross; it is an absolute monster.テつ The reason they call it the Green Monster is because it is a difficult course but has so much history.
It's a course that I drove by every single day to go to high school.テつ So the first time I got to play it, it was really a huge treat for me, and it is every time I get to play it now.
Being from Carolina, I love Pinehurst.テつ You can't go wrong with any of the Pinehurst courses.テつ Obviously, No. 2 has all the lore and the history.テつ But of all the courses that I've played, I really love Pinehurst No. 2 and Oakland Hills.

Q.テつ Have you played Pinehurst since they've redone it?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ I have not.テつ It was a few years ago, so I'm excited to see the Open next year, and see the championship.

Q.テつ Are you okay, have you looked at this thing close enough to make a prediction on who is going to be picked first tomorrow night?
SHANE BATTIER:テつ You know what?テつ We had a production meeting today, and three or four different guys had different opinions on the direction that things are going to go.テつ They really held their pick close to the vest, and I think it will be a good surprise tomorrow.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was Noel.テつ It could be Oladipo, and it could be the big fellow Len.テつ I think those three, and maybe McLemore.テつ So there is a lot of intrigue following this draft this year because of the uncertainty at the top.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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